Claudio Pizarro came off the bench to score the winning goal as Werder Bremen claimed a 2-1 win against RB Leipzig on the season's final day, though the home side missed out on UEFA Europa League qualification by finishing in 8th place.
Werder Bremen 2-1 RB Leipzig
Goals: 1-0 Rashica (pen. 35'), 1-1 Mukiele (86'), 2-1 Pizarro (88')
Aside from the hosts’ push for Europe next season, the pre-match talk was dominated by the future of 40-year-old veteran striker Pizarro. This clash might have been the Peruvian’s final game for the club in his fourth stint at Werder, but the tone was set for a day of celebration among the home fans when it was announced before kick-off that he had signed a new one-year contract. The jubilant atmosphere sustained a first half that was largely low on incident but came alive after Rashica’s opening goal from the penalty spot on 35 minutes. The 22-year-old converted after Dayot Upamecano had upended Yuya Osako, who almost doubled the lead with a header shortly after.
Leipzig, with a host of changes to their side and Timo Werner absent from the matchday squad entirely, showed signs of life before the break when Bruma struck the inside of the post and Matheus Cunha’s follow up was palmed over by Jiri Pavlenka. Bruma was presented with a chance to go one better when Leipzig were awarded a penalty of their own in the second half for a handball, but the Portuguese skied his effort way over. Wolfsburg winning handsomely against Augsburg meant Werder could not finish in the European places, but after Nordi Mukiele equalised for the visitors late on, there was still time for Pizarro to end the game and the season with a truly sweet moment, seizing the ball on the edge of the box and powering a left-foot shot into the corner, his 197th goal in Germany's top flight. The home fans can look forward to his double-century and a whole lot more next term.
Watch: Claudio Pizarro - 21 goals from 21 years
- Pizarro has scored 197 goals in 472 Bundesliga appearances, including five in 26 this term.
- The Peruvian is now ahead of Bremen legend Mirko Votava among the league's oldest goalscorers, at 40 years and 227 days. He remains third on that list, behind goalkeepers Uli Stein and Toni Schumacher.
- Max Kruse is out of contract at the end of the season. He is Bremen's top scorer this season with 11 Bundesliga goals.
- Timo Werner is Leipzig’s top scorer on 16 goals this season. He scored 21 in 2016/17 and 13 last term.
- Leipzig ended the season with the best defensive record in the Bundesliga (29 goals conceded).
Bremen: Pavlenka – Friedl, Veljkovic, Moisander (c), Augustinsson – M. Eggestein, Sahin (J. Eggestein 46'), Klaassen – Osako (Pizarro 74'), Möhwald (Johannsson 87'), Rashica
Unused subs: Kapino, Harnik, Langkamp, Sargent
Out: Bargfrede (thigh), Bartels (thigh), Gebre Selassie (fatigue), Harnik (illness), Kruse (thigh)
Coach: Florian Kohfeldt
Leipzig: Mvogo – Mukiele, Upamecano, Ilsanker (c), Saracchi – Bruma, Haidara, Adams (Smith-Rowe 64'), Laimer (Forsberg 70') – Cunha, Augustin (Poulsen 70')
Unused subs: Müller, Orban, Sabitzer, Klostermann,
Out: Gulacsi, Werner (not selected)
Coach: Ralf Rangnick